'A dark and brutal Women's Month': Govt condemns recent femicide cases

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The government has condemned GBV.
The government has condemned GBV.
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  • The government has condemned the brutal killings of women in the country, calling for the fight against GBV to be intensified.
  • It said 32 regional courts had been designated as Sexual Offences Courts in various parts of the country.
  • 3 500 investigating officers had received specialised training in family violence, child protection and sexual crimes. 

The government has said the brutal acts of violence against women in the country are a stark reminder that the ongoing fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) is nowhere near the end. 

In a statement from the Government Communication and Information Services on Tuesday, it condemned the ongoing killing of women and called for the fight against GBVF to be intensified. 

The most recent brutal murders include: 

  • University of Fort Hare law student Nosicelo Mtebeni, 23, whose dismembered body was discovered dumped in a suitcase in Quigney, East London on Thursday.
  • Palesa Maruping, 29, who was found hanging from the ceiling of a house in Khuma Location near Stilfontein, North West, on Wednesday.
  • Pheliswa "Dolly" Sawutana, 32, who was strangled to death with shoelaces in Kosovo informal settlement in Cape Town on Saturday.

READ | Murdered law student wanted to be a Constitutional Court judge

All these heinous crimes against women happened during Women’s Month, "when we should be celebrating women’s contribution in society and reflecting on some of the challenges they continue to face", GCIS Director-General Phumla Williams said, adding:

This has been a dark and brutal Women’s Month, marred by the brutal violence against women. Whilst we continue our efforts to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, GBVF is rearing its abominable head as the second pandemic that is destroying the fabric of our society.

"Whilst the call for justice to be served for these women is key, we also call on responsible men to lead the fight against GBVF in our communities."

ALSO READ | Family of slain North West woman desperate to find answers to help them deal with their loss

She said the government continued to drive the implementation of the pillars of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF, which seeks to end the scourge. 

It had allocated more than R21 billion over the next three years to support the six pillars of the NSP.

Nosicelo Mtebeni.
Nosicelo Mtebeni was killed in an act of GBV recently.
News24/File

"Since the launch of the NSP last year, 32 regional courts have been designated as Sexual Offences Courts in various parts of the country, and about 3 500 investigating officers received specialised training on family violence, child protection and sexual crimes," said Williams. 

She added that 12 public buildings had since been renovated and repurposed to be used as shelters and that police stations had been supplied with sexual assault evidence kits.

"Importantly, legislation currently before Parliament seeks to tighten cases related to domestic violence issues, such as denying offenders bail and sentencing them to long prison terms. The country’s judicial system has handed down harsh penalties and sentences to those found guilty of GBVF." 

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